Last Thursday, the first stop on Shabang Music Festival’s Battle of the Bands Tour took place at the Fremont Theater in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. Five local bands took to the stage to compete for a spot in the lineup of Shabang and a cash prize of $1000 in front of a spirited crowd.
The band kickstarted the event with their most recent release, “Mr. Daniels.” They followed it with two of their most popular songs, “Green Tea” and “Grapevine,” ending their set by tossing tee shirts into the crowd.
White Jagg began their set with their most listened-to song on Spotify, “Big Man, Big Gun,” followed by an unreleased song of theirs, “HMI.” They then played their newest single, “Different Frequencies.” They closed their set with “Sid Wander” and what they call their “Jam Outro.”
Couch Dog entered the stage in matching knitted dog hats. In the middle of their newest single, “Punch Drunk,” the band instructed the crowd to split in two to reveal a boxing match happening in the middle of the mosh. Their set was interactive, keeping the crowd clapping along with each song.
The band took the stage opening with their 2022 single, “Melocoda.” They subsequently performed two new songs that have yet to be released. To end their set, they handed out branded stickers and tossed drummer Jack Vitecks’ drumsticks into the crowd.
The last performance and the first solo act of the night was Cate Armstrong. She took the stage accompanied by her older sister, Amelia Armstrong.
Armstrong debuted her new release, “Info Overload,” which was released the day of the show. She moved on to sing and play the acoustic guitar for her original song, “Found.”
After each band had performed the audience was instructed to vote for their favorite performance with a QR code. The winner was chosen through a 60 percent audience vote and a 40 percent judges vote. The judges consisted of a mix of locals involved in the SLO music scene.
And the winner is… Couch Dog! They will now have a spot in the Shabang music festival on May 5 and 6. The band also won a cash prize of $1000.
“We couldn’t be more grateful for all of your support and we are so excited to be playing Shabang 2023, two years in a row.” Couch Dog’s bassist, Pablo Acosta, said. “I love SLO and am so excited for this, so thank you so much.”